Imagine that - I'm tense.
That tenseness manifested in other ways this weekend. I took G to see Cliff on Saturday, and during the visit the muscle under my right eyebrow started to twitch. And kept twitching until this morning. Again, I surfed into the deep darkness of google and discovered that I needed potassium, or sleep, or a lack of stress in my life.
Imagine that - I'm stressed.
I've learned to pay attention to my body and what it is telling me. Scripture tells me that my "self" is not just my spirit or my soul or my body, but that I am all things at once. My soul is never separated from my body and my body is never to be escaped because I am all of them together, a blending of aethyr and earth that cannot be compartmentalized. So when my eyebrow starts twitching and my collarbone radiates hurt and I can't shake a cold, I know to look deeper and see what the root is of all the distress.
It didn't occur to me till I was almost finished with my run what today was. Two years ago today, I sat with my sister on the couch of my house in Waco and waited to hear the judgment of Cliff's jury. Two years ago today, my life burst apart at the seams when I read a well-meaning text message from a concerned friend that only said "I'm so so sorry Elizabeth." I wasn't in the courtroom to hear the verdict, but those words told me all I needed to know. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. All charges.
Imagine that - the latent pain of this day wends its way even into my cellular structure.
I'm not really sad today. Choosing to pursue divorce has helped me to let go of the more stinging aspects of grief. But whether or not I'm married to Cliff, I'll always be connected to him through our son. So I will never stop having to negotiate prison visits and legal repercussions, custody concerns, financial arrangements, etc. And I do it alone, still. I'm a metaphysical weightlifter in this regard, bracing myself under the burdens of life after "all the evil", so its no wonder that I develop twitches and tense muscles.
This last Sunday, the lectionary gospel reading was a dark one - Jesus' apocalyptic predictions in the book of Luke. Wars and rumors of wars, persecution, moons like blood, suffering and the like. It's pretty depressing stuff, except the last verse in the pericope. "By holding fast," Jesus says, "you will gain your lives." Indeed.
Jesus knew that life was filled with unfairness, with unearned punishments, with unlikely tragedies, with unforgiving judgments. Jesus knew that and was always honest with his disciples about the trials that every life intersects. And he told them to hold fast - not that they would escape the pain, not that they would escape the loss of the days ahead. He told them to hold fast. To belligerently choose existence and tomorrows and dawn and new experienes and life even as the world crumbled and roiled around them.
Unknowingly, that has been my theme during these passing years, the one repeating refrain, the goal in all the turmoil of my life - Hold fast. And I am grateful for the words of Christ that remind me WHY I'm holding on in the first place: because I gain my life this way. It may be a life where I occasionally twitch under stress. It may be a life where I have to focus on letting go of the tenseness that I carry in my shoulders. It may be a life where colds linger and where I still have the occasional late-night cry. It may be a life of gray Novembers. But I gain my life by facing the moons of blood and devastating spiritual earthquakes and holding fast.
The days pass my friends, quickly and haltingly. The days pass, and some memories fade while others remain burned forever into the film of your mind. The days pass, but we can hold fast. The days pass, and there is life to be gained.
December is almost here.
Praise be to God!